Bald and Babcock Wildland Fire Use Fires Grow in Yosemite National Park
The Bald and Babcock Fires are the largest and most active of the several lightning-caused fires currently burning in Yosemite National Park.
The Babcock Fire (located just north of Merced Lake) has experienced slow but steady growth since its ignition near the beginning of July, and is now burning about 220 acres. The most active fire in the park, the Bald Fire (ignited 8/30/07) is located 3.25 miles east of Bald Mountain in Yosemite's remote wilderness area north of the Tioga Road. It is currently about 116 acres and has high potential for further spread. These fires are being managed with both park and outside resources.
These fires are being managed as wildland fires for resource benefit. Wildland Fire Use (WFU) projects are allowed to burn and spread naturally as long as they do not threaten people or property. Fire is a natural ecological process that plays an important role in shaping and restoring the park's ecosystems.
The Bald Fire is inside the area that burned during the Ackerson Complex in 1996. Unnaturally heavy timber and decades of fire suppression in the area at the time of the Ackerson Complex made it one of the most destructive fires in Yosemite's history, burning almost 60,000 acres of mature tree stands and heavy vegetation and threatening a rural community. The Bald Fire is being managed with the primary objective of reducing regrown unnatural fuel loads and preventing the recurrence of a fire such as the Ackerson Complex.
A combination of techniques and containment actions utilizing on-site and air monitoring, natural barriers, and constructed fireline are being used to manage the fire. Some suppression actions are being taken on the southern flank of the Bald Fire to prevent spread into the suppression zone.
At this point, no trails or park facilities are closed. However, with this fire's high potential for growth, visitors planning to use the following trails ONLY should call the Fire Information Office in Yosemite National Park at 209/372-0480 for updated conditions:
While most smoke is dissipating to the north east, visitors should expect localized smoke in areas throughout Yosemite National Park. Visitors with respiratory conditions should avoid smoky areas and vigorous activity where heavy smoke is present. The fire management team is attentive to the public's concerns about smoke impacts to health, visibility, and experiencing the park. The team's management of the fire considers reducing smoke impacts to the visitor as well as restoring healthy conditions to the forest and protecting communities.
For more information call 209/372-0480 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/yose/fire.
Did You Know?
Giant sequoias are a fire adapted species. Their bark is fire resistant and fire helps open the sequoia cone and scatter the tiny seeds. Fire also clears forest debris from the mineral soil and provides a nutrient rich seed bed as well as clearing competing species.